There are few places around the World, outside of Europe, that offers amazing street art and graffiti, and Rio Piedras in Puerto Rico is one of them. Viewing the colorful streets of Rio Piedras is an absolute delight and are a great reason to visit. They represent part of the city’s history from the view of the people and are now also created to make parts of the city more attractive and interesting for locals and visitors alike. If you are wondering what street art is, it refers to the visual art that is located at public locations. For example, a shop wall and on the side of trains.
What is the difference between Street Art and Graffiti?
While both can be viewed as art there is a difference between the two. Graffiti is created by hand with spray cans. Graffiti artists pride themselves on their can skills, as they do not depend on stencils, unlike many street artists.
Is Street Art illegal?
Street art is only illegal when permission is not granted to create an image on a privately owned or government owned wall/property. So, if you buy a property you are free to with it what you wish, like spray paint a giant image or slogan. When permission is received the image is viewed as public art for all to admire.
When street art is illegal it is likely to be swiftly removed, by the local council. If it cannot be washed off, it will be painted over.
Have a look at the images below, from Rio Piedras. Which ones do you think are graffiti and which are street art.
Aren’t they amazing? The detail involved and the variety of color is simply beautiful. Which image is your favorite?
A Brief History of Street Art
The first forms of street art were definitely described as graffiti. They date back as early as the 1920s. The first sprayed images were made by gangs marking their territory and sending warning messages to their rivals, particularly in the New York area of the USA.
Popularity grew in the 1950s and 60’s within the younger generation. Street art and graffiti were used as a form of expressive art, to protest socio-political issues and strong feelings against wars. Also, with improved global transport and the increase in traveling abroad, this subcultural phenomenon spread throughout the World.
Towards the end of the 20th-century street art became more mainstream. Art galleries began to display original work and photographers published books capturing global street art through the lens. Since then-contemporary artists have created a wide range of colorful images and politically expressive designs throughout the World. Today, perhaps the most famous street artist is British based artist Banksy.
Other Top Locations Around the World
Once you have enjoyed the artistic sites of Rio Piedras and San Juan in Puerto Rico consider visiting other locations around the World, that have played a major role in producing incredible street art. Here are our top 5 picks:
- London, UK, with a two day trip to Bristol, the home of Banksy.
- Montreal, Canada has an annual MURAL festival to celebrate the 70+ murals around the city.
- Melbourne, Australia has a massive active community of street artists.
- New York City, particularly Williamsburg and Dumbo in Brooklyn and the Chelsea art district.
- For large scale, murals visit Buenos Aires, Argentina, to check out the works of Alfredo Segatori aka Pelado.